Which just about sums up this last frenzied week before Christmas. Carnage.
But if we did slow down, even just a bit, it would all somehow get done. And if it doesn’t it probably wasn’t worth the hassle or didn’t need to be done.
You may well have had your first mince pie by now, but was it home made? There is just something about home made mince pies that really says Christmas that’s not synthetic tasting and shinny. Here I must fess up as these are the first mince pies I have ever made, but wow was it worth the effort. Actually again like the mincemeat they were incredibly easy to make.
I went to Google the history of mince pies, but then a child cried, the phone rang, the pizza burnt, you get the picture.
Then I thought I’d like to think the history of mince pies was something like this…
Every Christmas since time began, everybody goes a little crazy (well sometimes a lot crazy), rushing trying to get things done and sometimes its easy to forget. Forget about why we do it, what it’s about, the ones we love, the ones who we’ve shared Christmas’ gone by but are no longer here, to have a break and just enjoy it. We just forget. So some wise bugger created a little sweet treat that made us sit down and just take a minute and have a break and remember. Which is why children everywhere leave a few mince pies and tipple out for the big man and his reindeer.
So take some time, enjoy the moment. Put your feet up, gaze at the twinkling lights on your tree or just put on some Christmas tunes, and enjoy a mince pie. A well earned break.
If you have the inclination give these little darlings a whirl, it will only take minutes. They’re also a great thing to make with little people and keep them entertained once the holidays finally start, hoorah! There also a lovely, inexpensive gift for a teacher or elderly neighbour.
Wishing you a very merry christmas and lots of love.
200g x gluten-free flour (I use Doves Farm Plain White)
100g x butter
70ml x water or orange juice
1 x tablespoon of maple syrup
Icing sugar to sprinkle
This will make enough mince pies to fill 4 tart tins.
Pre-heat the oven 180c, 350f, or gas mark 4
1.cut the butter in to cubes and leave to soften
2. crumble the flour and butter together in your hands, by a fork or food mixer in to bread crumbs
3. add the water (or juice) and maple syrup and mix in to a ball of dough
4. leave for at least 30 mins
5. butter 4 tart trays (or save the dough and re-use later)
6. dust a rolling pin and surface with gluten-free flour and roll into a thin crust and cut into circles
7. put the circles of dough in to the bases of the tart tins and half full with mincemeat
8. cut star shapes out of the remaining dough and cover the top of each pie
9. bake in the oven for 20mins
10. leave to cool and dust with icing sugar
750g x dried mixed fruit (I used Waitrose pre-mixed with Raisins, Currants, Sultanas, Cranberries, Apricots and Pineapple)
You can use your own mix of dried fruit with Raisins and Sultanas being approx. 30 and 40% respectively of the overall mix.
100g x butter cut in to cubes
80ml x brandy
Maple syrup x 3 tablespoons
1 x orange juice and zest
1 x star anise
3 x clove studs
1 x teaspoon of mixed spice
1 x teaspoon of ginger
1 x teaspoon of cinnamon
1 x 1/4 teaspoon of nutmeg
1. mix half the brandy with all the spices, maple syrup and orange zest and juice in a pan and gently heat in a pan stirring constantly for 3-4 mins and set aside
2. in a large pan start to melt the butter and stir in the mixed fruit and heat on a low heat for 10 mins , regularly stiring
3. add the second half of the brandy and enfused syrup from the pan, removing the star anise and clove studs to the dried fruit
4. mix together and add to a steralised jar or jars
The butter can make the mincemeat look a bit cloudy in the jar.